I think the first little jolt I got was reading Gerard Manley Hopkins – I liked other poems… but Hopkins was kind of electric for me – he changed the rules with speech, and the whole intensity of the language was there and so on.
When I was in Utah there, first learning the kind of music I love, my favorite singer was T. Texas Tyler. So my friend, Norman Ritchie, the traveling teenage sage, started calling me U. Utah Phillips.
Poetry carries the imagery which is large enough for the kind of life we want for ourselves.
The scientific observer of Nature is a kind of mystic seeker in the act of prayer.
Agatha Christie never wrote books that just started with a dead body, and a ‘Let’s find out who the murderer is’, which is kind of mysterious but not that mysterious. She always started with, ‘How can this thing be happening; isn’t it strange?’
There are two kinds of teachers: the kind that fill you with so much quail shot that you can’t move, and the kind that just gives you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies.
Prose is not so dependent on sound. The line of poetry, with the breaking of the line – to me, sound is the kind of doorway into poetry. And my sense of sound, or my ability to control it, lapsed or grew less.
Mama and Daddy King represent the best in manhood and womanhood, the best in a marriage, the kind of people we are trying to become.
To set up as a standard of public morality a notion which can neither be defined nor conceived is to open the door to every kind of tyranny.
The other guy I dug a lot was Burroughs because he was a smart man already; he learned it through the druggie pool – the street scene of an old aristocratic kind of man.